There are few pleasures simpler or greater than excellent bread and butter. Particularly when the butter is creamy and salted, and the bread is a freshly baked Danish bolle, or roll, available in numerous varieties: peppered with walnuts and dried fruit, sprinkled with poppy or pumpkin seeds, flecked with strands of carrot or beetroot… These always have the most luscious dense, slightly sour crumb, and are deliciously chewy and wholesome, particularly when slathered in the aforementioned butter. I should also mention that the Danes even have a special word, tandsmør, which literally means ‘tooth butter’ and describes a piece of bread so thickly spread with the good stuff that you leave toothmarks when you bite into it. This essentially describes the diet to which I have been rigorously adhering since I moved here.Read More
I debated long and hard over what to call these. When I put a picture of them up on instagram the other day, my finger hovered over the keyboard as I found myself weighing up the merits of ‘cinnamon rolls’ versus ‘cinnamon buns’. Were I actually Danish, rather than simply pretending by living in Denmark, being relatively tall, cycling everywhere and knowing how to say ‘I’m dog-hungry, give me a big pastry now’ in Danish, I would simply call them kanelsnegler (cinnamon snails) and be done with it, but I’m not so there was pause for thought. (And even this appears to be hotly contested in Denmark, because alongside the kanelsnegl there also exist the kanelsnurre and even the kanelting, literally ‘cinnamon thing’, which definitely suggests someone somewhere is sick of the entire debate).Read More
I never thought I’d be one of those expats who pines for tastes of home and can be found looking shifty around the security gates at airports, nervously anticipating the moment they are forced to unveil to the bemused staff their suitcase, tightly packed with jars of Marmite and cylinders of Digestive biscuits. Then again, I don’t like Marmite, I haven’t eaten a Digestive biscuit in years, and the usual suspects hardly register on my radar of desire either: baked beans I consider an atrocity, Yorkshire tea is unpleasantly bitter, and Branston pickle is a surefire way to ruin almost any food.Read More
While piles of crisp, eddying golden leaves and a nip in the morning air are sure signs that autumn is in full swing, I tend to feel the seasons more through their food. Nothing for me is more autumnal than the sight of pumpkins, in all shapes, sizes and colours, lined up at the farmers market, or russet apples piled in abundance in the grocery stores. At this time of year, my appetite shifts towards hearty, bolstering foods in varying shades of gold, green and red; porridge becomes a staple breakfast and my love of baking shifts up a gear or two. Here in Denmark, we are blessed with fabulous bakeries on every corner, and one thing I particularly love about this little Scandinavian corner of Europe is the dark, flavoursome nature of the breads on offer, which are often punctuated by crunchy seeds and dense with nutty wholegrain flours.Read More
How do you go about making a home?
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the gradual process by which a place shrugs off its aura of newness and unfamiliarity and starts to become home. The repetitive performance of micro-rituals that, step by step, wear down the strangeness of a place and cosset it in the comforting blanket of domesticity and belonging. When do you stop being a tourist and start becoming a citizen? When does house become home? How do you stop staying in a place and start living there?Read More
If J. Alfred Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons, I could measure mine out in apples. For those fussy nursery years, the inoffensive blandness of the Golden Delicious, which I wanted pre-chopped in my lunchbox but would refuse to let my mother put lemon juice on to stop it turning brown, because the idea of something as exotic as lemon juice seemed, to my picky infant self, a truly atrocious adulteration of my lunchtime snack. During my pre-pubescent years, having figured out that the Golden Delicious was in fact anything but, I craved the juicy sweetness of the ubiquitous Pink Lady, soothed by the succulent flavour of homogeneity. The perfect apple for a child who just wants to blend in. For my teenage years, I favoured the Granny Smith. Hard, speckled and slightly sour, I think this apple is a fitting metaphor for my experience of adolescence.Read More